Open small retail stores with occupancy and social distancing restrictions like big boxes, Alabama Retail president says

In an April 13 Alabama Daily News story, Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown and others advocate for opening small stores under occupancy, social distancing and health standards as have been placed on larger stores.

The Alabama Retail Association and many of its members don’t understand a public policy that sends the same number of consumers to a smaller group of retailers creating denser crowds,” association President Rick Brown told Alabama Daily News on April 10. “This policy seems at odds with the Alabama Department of Public Health’s stated objective to avoid large gatherings.

Our suggestion is to reopen small retail stores with occupancy restrictions and social distancing standards similar to those placed on big-box stores,” Brown said today. “This will diffuse consumers to more retailers, thus limiting crowds. An added benefit is that this policy change will invigorate our local economies and keep retail employees employed.”

Brown is a member of the COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Task Force Subcommittee, which is expected to submit a plan to the governor and state health officer by Friday, April 17.

Retail stores and restaurants combined are Alabama’s largest private employer.

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